Stay Safe in the Sun

It’s no fun having a trip to the beach painfully interrupted by a nasty sunburn.

A little precaution also makes sense in the long run. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, your risk of skin cancer doubles if you have had more than five sunburns in your lifetime.

Since it’s the first official week of summer, now is a good time to review some easy ways to protect your skin.

Find a shady spot. If you can, avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.

Wear sunscreen. Choose a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher. Those with fair skin or light hair, should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF. Waterproof sunscreen will last longer if you perspire or get wet.

Use it correctly. Thirty minutes before going outside, apply two tablespoons of sunscreen for your whole body, including a nickel-sized amount to the face. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or sooner if you’ve been swimming.

Wear a hat. Protect your eyes, ears and head with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Cover up. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing is a good option for extended time outdoors. Tightly woven fabrics in dark or bright colors are best.

But sometimes sunburns happen despite our best intentions. You miss that spot in the middle of your back, or your teen forgets to reapply after a dip in the ocean. Try these tips to ease the pain and salvage your vacation.

Cold compresses. Don’t apply ice directly to skin, but cloths soaked in ice water will cool the burn.

Moisturize. Apply gentle, water-based moisturizer while skin is still damp.

Drug store. Ease the discomfort, swelling and itching with anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, hydrocortisone cream and aloe vera gel.

Drink water. Burns draw moisture to the skin and away from the rest of your body, so it’s important to rehydrate.

For more information on being safe in the sun, visit the American Cancer Society or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

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